February 24, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Condemns Russia's Attack on Ukraine - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
    Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday called Russia's invasion of Ukraine a "severe violation of international order."
    "The Russian attack all across Ukraine is a serious violation and Israel condemns it. Israel has known conflicts and war is not the way to resolve them. One can still stop and settle the disputes."
    He added that Israel "has good relations with both Russia and Ukraine."
    See also below Commentary: Impact of the Ukraine Crisis on Israel - Col. (res.) Eldad Shavit, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Udi Dekel, and Dr. Anat Kurz (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
    See also below Observations: The Ukrainians Are Learning a Lesson that Israel Has Already Learned - Dr. Dan Schueftan (Israel Hayom)

Report: Israeli Commandos Attacked Hizbullah Depots in Lebanon (Naharnet-Lebanon)
    "Over the past months, Israeli elite forces conducted operations in various areas of Lebanon and entered into Hizbullah posts," the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai has quoted U.S. diplomatic sources as saying.
    The Israeli commandos managed to "destroy secret facilities inside these posts and to seize important information related to Hizbullah's arms program."

IDF Warns Syrians: "Those Who Cooperate with Hizbullah Are Targets" - Emanuel Fabian (Times of Israel)
    The Israel Defense Forces reportedly dropped flyers in southern Syria on Wednesday, hours after reportedly conducting missile strikes on an observation post and a "finance building" near Quneitra.
    The flyers said in Arabic: "To the leaders and members of the Syrian army, we have warned you and continue to warn you, we will not stop as long as your cooperation with Hizbullah continues....Those who cooperate with Hizbullah...are targets."

Hizbullah's Entrenchment in Southern Syria - Yaakov Lappin (JNS)
    The Alma Research and Education Center published a report on a video of a Hizbullah operative who describes the activities of the group's Golan File Unit, which attempts to recruit operatives in southern Syria to spy on Israel and prepare cross-border attacks.
    Tal Beeri, head of Alma's Research Department, said, "We have exposed 30 such sites where Golan File cells are active....These cells can launch an attack at any time. They are planning attacks around the clock."
    "The quiet in this area is deceptive. Under the surface, constant activity is taking place. This is a region that can go from zero to 100 in a second."

Israel Accuses Iran of Providing Precision Munitions for Drones Supplied to Venezuela (Reuters)
    Briefing U.S. Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Tuesday showed photographs of an Iranian Mohajer UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) in Venezuela.
    "Our assessments show that Iranian PGMs (precision-guided munitions) are being delivered for these UAVs and other similar models," Gantz said.

Iran Returns Donated Vaccines Because They Were Made in U.S. (AP-Washington Post)
    Iran has returned 820,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines donated by Poland because they were manufactured in the U.S., Iranian state TV reported Monday.

Lebanon Foils Three Suicide Attacks by Islamic State Affiliate (Middle East Online-UK)
    Lebanese security forces have foiled plans by militants linked to Islamic State to carry out three suicide attacks in Beirut's southern suburbs, Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said Wednesday.
    The plans for the attacks involved rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire as well as suicide vests rigged with explosives. Explosives, weapons and munitions were seized.

Israeli Aid Experts Reach Typhoon-Hit Philippines - Abigail Klein Leichman (Israel21c)
    Two months after December's Typhoon Odette affected the lives of more than 10 million Filipinos, IsraAID team members were able to enter the country to bring urgent aid to communities in need.
    Molly Bernstein, IsraAID's Head of Mission in the Philippines, said, "After typhoons, seawater infiltrates wells and other water sources and causes the water to become undrinkable."
    "Our teams brought a cutting-edge Israeli solution to the field to make safe water from the salinated water."
    The Otterpack portable water purification system can supply up to 120 liters of pure drinking water per hour, powered by a standard rechargeable battery or operated manually.

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Arab Rulers and Spy Chiefs Stashed Millions in Swiss Bank - Ben Hubbard (New York Times)
    The king and queen of Jordan had secret Swiss bank accounts worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a major data leak from Credit Suisse, one of Switzerland's largest banks. So did the sons of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.
    Other accounts were linked to spy chiefs from Egypt, Jordan and Yemen. Most of the account holders named in the leak are either out of power or dead.

The Resurgence of the Islamic State in Iraq, Syria, and Africa - Jacques Neriah (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    Deadly events unfolding in Africa, as well as in Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria, and as far away as Afghanistan, Indonesia, and the Philippines, illustrate the recovery of the Islamic State (IS), that had been defeated by an international coalition in July 2017.
    Half of all IS operations in 2021 were carried out in Iraq and Syria, which remain the basis for IS strategy.
    Moreover, IS has managed to conquer new territories, mainly in Africa

Israel Appoints First Muslim Supreme Court Justice - Tova Zimuky (Ynet News-Ha'aretz)
    Khaled Kabuv, 63, was appointed on Monday as Israel's first Muslim Supreme Court Justice.
    There have been Israeli Arabs on the Supreme Court since 2003 with the appointment of Maronite Christian Justice Salim Joubran, followed by Arab Christian Justice George Karra.

Arab Woman Appointed Israeli Consul General in Shanghai (Times of Israel)
    Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, a Knesset member from the Meretz party, was appointed Israel's Consul General in Shanghai, China, on Tuesday, the first Arab woman to head an Israeli diplomatic mission.
    Zoabi, 49, is an activist for Arab Israeli rights and a businesswoman who served as executive director of the Injaz Center for Professional Arab Local Governance.

Royal Air Maroc to Launch New Casablanca-Tel Aviv Route - Khaled Majdoub (Anadolu-Turkey)
    Morocco's national carrier will launch a direct air route between Casablanca and Tel Aviv on March 13 with four flights weekly, Royal Air Maroc said Monday.

UAE Invests in Drones, Robots as Unmanned Warfare Takes Off - Mohamad Ali Harissi (AFP)
    The United Arab Emirates is ploughing money into drones, robots and other unmanned weaponry as autonomous warfare becomes more widespread - including in attacks on the Gulf country by Yemen's Houthi rebels.
    EDGE, the UAE's arms consortium, was formed three years ago and reached $4.8 billion in arms sales in 2020 - nearly all of them to the UAE government.
    In December, the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting the Houthis said the insurgents had fired more than 850 attack drones and 400 ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia in the past seven years, killing 59 civilians.
    EDGE has signed multiple deals with foreign partners, including U.S. firms Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.
    The establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel in 2020 has opened up new opportunities.

Israeli Study Shows Oxygen Therapy Can Dramatically Reduce PTSD Symptoms - Nathan Jeffay (Times of Israel)
    Oxygen therapy can dramatically reduce post-traumatic stress disorder, according to an Israeli study on Israel Defense Forces veterans.
    Half the subjects made such good progress they were no longer deemed to have PTSD.
    In the Tel Aviv University research, 18 IDF veterans with post-trauma had 60 sessions in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, according to a study published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed journal PlosOne.
    "Today we understand that treatment-resistant PTSD is caused by a biological wound in brain tissues," said Prof. Shai Efrati.
    Oxygen therapy "induces reactivation and proliferation of stem cells, as well as generation of new blood vessels and increased brain activity, ultimately restoring the functionality of the wounded tissues."
    Efrati directs the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at the Shamir Medical Center.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Blasts UN Security Council for Elevating Palestinian Issue amid Ukraine Crisis
    As Russian forces tightened the noose around Ukraine on Wednesday, Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan questioned the UN Security Council's priorities as it focused on alleged Israeli offenses. "As we sit here debating legal disputes and false allegations, the clouds of unrest, violence, and war cast long shadows across the world," Erdan said.
        Erdan added that since the Middle East was the topic of conversation, attention needed to be focused on the Iranian regime, "the real threat to the region" and "the world's number one state-sponsor of terror." "A renewed Iran deal will permit the Ayatollahs to develop and operate the most advanced centrifuges, while shrinking the breakout time of a nuclear Iran to almost zero."  (Algemeiner)
        See also Israel: If Human Rights Organizations Cared about Human Rights They Would Focus on PA and Hamas
    Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that this would have been the sixth birthday of Ido Avigal, an Israeli boy killed by a Hamas rocket in May. He charged that the UN Human Rights Council's new Commission of Inquiry "is ignoring Hamas' crimes...even though Hamas' sole purpose was to harm Israeli citizens, which led to the death of Ido."
        "Can anyone honestly look me in the eye and tell me that Israel, a country that protects the social and political equality of all of its citizens, is guilty of systematic injustice - a country in which Arab doctors, Arab members of parliament and Arab ministers serve alongside their Jewish counterparts?"
        "Look at how the Palestinian Authority and Hamas treat political dissidents, minorities, women, and the LGBTQ community....Where are the humanitarian organizations decrying the PA's pay-to-slay policy?"  (Tazpit Press Service)
  • UK Moves to Ban Boycott of Israel in Public Pension Funds - Kirsty Buchanan
    The British parliament on Tuesday approved an amendment to stop local authority pension funds from backing BDS sanctions against UK companies connected with Israel. Former Communities Minister Rob Jenrick told the Commons that public sector pensions, paid for by the taxpayer and underwritten by the government, were "quite clearly the preserve of the state" and it was "perfectly legitimate" for the government to have a say in how they were regulated.
        "For too long we have seen public pension schemes pursue pseudo foreign policies and all too often the foreign policy of these public pension schemes is, I'm afraid, exclusively focused on re-writing the UK's relationship with the world's only Jewish state, Israel....You don't have to look very hard to find a pattern of anti-Semitic behavior in connection with campaigns promoting a boycott of Israel."
        Jenrick told the Jewish Chronicle: "BDS against Israel...is increasingly out of step with the mood in the Middle East following the Abraham Accords, whereby a number of Gulf states are forging productive links with Israel....[The amendment] will be the first step in legislation outlawing BDS in the UK."  (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Foreign Minister: Oppose Iran Revolutionary Guard Ban Reversal - Lahav Harkov
    The world cannot acquiesce to Iran's demand that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps no longer be designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Monday. "If the IRGC isn't a terrorist organization, what are they - a folk-dancing troupe?" "The world cannot...allow tens of billions of dollars to flow to Iran nor allow it to continue to spread terror around the world."
        Earlier on Monday, Lapid called on visiting American Jewish leaders to ensure that the IRGC's terrorist designation is not removed. "Everyone in their right mind should go to the Biden administration and say, 'This is wrong. Don't do this.'"  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israeli Defense Minister: For Iran, Israel Needs "Offensive Capabilities Ready in Our Back Pockets"
    Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem on Tuesday that Israel must "have offensive capabilities...ready in our back pockets," regardless of the outcome of negotiations between Iran and world powers on Tehran's nuclear program. "It is my duty to prepare the Israel Defense Forces and the security establishment of Israel to be ready to act if needed."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Netanyahu: New Iran Nuclear Deal Will Bring War - Alex Traiman
    Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told American Jewish leaders on Tuesday that the nuclear deal with Iran would lead to war. "This region will become a nuclear tinderbox. This will bring war, and then another war. We are going from a bad deal to a worse deal." The new deal is essentially a "seal of approval" for Iran to become a nuclear threshold state. "It is a horrible deal. We should oppose it with every fiber of our being."
        Any agreement with Iran should be contingent on four key principles, he explained: The dismantling of all enrichment capabilities; the dismantling of all intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities; an end to all research on nuclear weaponization; and an end to terrorism and aggression throughout the Middle East and beyond. (JNS)
  • U.S. Ambassador: Israel's Hands Won't Be Tied by Deal with Iran
    U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem on Sunday that Israel would not be bound by any agreement between the U.S. and Iran. "The Israelis have the right to do what they need to do to defend their country. So no one is tying the hands of the Israelis." Nides added, "There's nothing we are doing here that they are not aware of....I think in the last Democratic administration that I was a part of, there was some sense that we weren't communicating with them and they were surprised."  (Jewish Insider)
  • Palestinian Killed while Hurling Firebombs at Israeli Cars - Aaron Boxerman
    Muhammad Shahada, 14, was shot dead by Israeli troops Tuesday night while throwing firebombs at passing cars near Bethlehem. Israelis traveling along the main traffic artery between Jerusalem and Gush Etzion have been attacked with firebombs at a spot near al-Khader at least seven times in the last month. The Israel Defense Forces said "three Palestinian suspects" were responsible for a string of attacks. "The troops fired at one of the suspects while he threw a firebomb, and hit him," the IDF said. (Times of Israel-Jerusalem Post)
        See also UN Upset by Death of Palestinian Teenage Firebomb Thrower - Tovah Lazaroff
    UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Conflict Tor Wennesland stated Wednesday: "Gravely concerned by yesterday's killing of 14-yr.-old boy by ISF [Israeli Security Forces] in Bethlehem."
        The IDF reported a hike in the number of Palestinian stoning and firebomb attacks against Israelis in the West Bank. There were 5,532 stoning incidents and 1,022 firebomb attacks in 2021.
        Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne'eman said: "The IDF soldiers who killed the Arab trying to burn Jews alive did the right thing. If this trend continues, I am sure we will see fewer firebombs thrown in Gush Etzion in particular, and in Judea and Samaria in general. Thank you to our troops whose strength was justified."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    The Ukraine Crisis and Israel

  • Impact of the Ukraine Crisis on Israel - Col. (res.) Eldad Shavit, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Udi Dekel, and Dr. Anat Kurz
    An American response to a Russian attack on Ukraine, which would isolate Russia and deepen the sanctions imposed on it, is expected to have negative consequences for Israel. As part of the Russian response, it is possible that Moscow would cut off the Russian-Israeli operational coordination and try to thwart Israeli strikes in Syria using Russian air defense systems and interception aircraft. Simultaneously, it is possible that Russia would refrain from restraining Iran and even encourage it to use its proxies, not only against the American forces in Syria, but also against Israel.
        However, Israel's special relations with the U.S., which are an essential political-diplomatic shield for it, do not leave Israel a choice - even if it were to prefer to sit on the fence - other than to side with Washington's position fully and without any signs of hesitation. At this stage, Israel should continue to maintain channels of dialogue with Moscow - including regarding the essential ongoing need to avoid military friction in the northern arena, but should also prepare for a scenario in which the connection and the operational coordination between Israel and Russia is cut off.
        Col. (res.) Eldad Shavit, a senior researcher at INSS, previously served in senior roles in Israeli Defense Intelligence and the Mossad. Brig.-Gen. (res.) Udi Dekel, former head of the IDF Strategic Planning Division, is Managing Director of INSS. Dr. Anat Kurz is Director of Research at INSS. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

  • Israeli Security

  • Israel's New Strategy in a Post-American Middle East - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin and Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Assaf Orion
    Waning U.S. engagement in the Middle East has emboldened Iran, which is posing a growing threat to Israel and other nations throughout the region. Governments in the region have begun to doubt the resolve of the U.S. as a security guarantor. Even as it continues to benefit from U.S. assistance and backing, Israel has sought new regional partnerships to buttress its security.
        Iran continues to provide drones, rockets, missiles, military training and support to a growing number of proxy militias in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and the Palestinian theaters. Tehran has also stepped up its proxy attacks on Saudi and Emirati targets, U.S. forces in the region, and, occasionally, maritime targets, such as Emirati vessels and merchant ships belonging to Israelis.
        In addition to the potentially existential threat posed by an Iranian nuclear bomb, Tehran's support for Hizbullah has created a lethal military threat on Israel's borders, with the Shiite militia now equipped with a formidable arsenal of precision-guided missiles, attack drones, and air defense systems.
        In short, the perceived retreat of the U.S. from the Middle East has unleashed a chain reaction of nuclear proliferation and increased military aggression by Iran and its proxies. The failure to stop Iran's nuclear program could accelerate a regional nuclear arms race.
        Israel's security alliance with the U.S. was further advanced last year with the inclusion of Israel in U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility. Israel can increasingly share the burden of some U.S. security missions with its intelligence, air, and cyber defenses. For years, Israel has shared intelligence and cyber-capabilities with the Gulf states. Over the past decade, Israel has also supported Jordan's border security and Egypt's counterterrorism efforts in Sinai, while its Iron Dome missile defense system has intercepted incoming rockets targeting both Eilat in Israel and neighboring Aqaba in Jordan.
        Israel prepares its own military options against Iran to serve as a backstop should all other efforts to contain Iran's nuclear program fail. Concurrently, Israel will likely continue its covert campaign against Tehran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs in order to disrupt and impede its progress toward making a bomb.
        Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, former head of IDF Military Intelligence, is currently a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center. Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Assaf Orion, former head of the Strategic Division in the IDF General Staff's Planning Directorate, is a Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Foreign Affairs)
  • How Effective Is Laser Defense Against Missiles? - Seth J. Frantzman
    Israel is planning a defensive "laser wall" that would shift from investing in costly interceptor missiles to less costly electric lasers. Uzi Rubin, founder of Israel's Missile Defense Organization, said that while the cost of defeating an incoming threat with a laser may be low, the price of acquiring and maintaining the technology could be significant. Lasers are also impacted by weather conditions, so an airborne laser system would also be needed.
        A further challenge is the low rate of kill for this technology, as lasers heat up a target in order to destroy it. "[With the] Nautilus laser, it took between 2-3 seconds to kill a Grad-like rocket," said Rubin. "Consider that they [the enemy] fire at a rate of two to four rockets per second; so you kill one, and several more have been launched already." "With Iron Dome...[we can] target 20, while a laser has to target each one individually." Moreover, "Laser beams have finite range....A laser beam disperses by 8-10 kilometers [5-6 miles], so it's a local defense."
        Pini Yungman, head of the air defense unit at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which makes the Iron Dome, said, "We are developing the laser to be a launcher in the Iron Dome system....You cannot rely on it [a laser] by itself; you need a combination of kinetic kill and energy, a combination of ways to intercept, otherwise you won't be able to intercept threats." In the next few months, "we will have [a] final integration test" to combine the laser system with Iron Dome.
        Tal Inbar, a senior research fellow at the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, agrees that air defense systems can't rely solely on lasers because of the weather factor as well as the thickness of rockets. The thicker the material, the longer it would take for a laser to destroy the threat. (Defense News)
  • Israel and the Emerging New Global Order: An Arab Perspective - Tarek Osman
    Israel has become a major military power with a formidable reputation in the world of intelligence, and a large number of countries in the Middle East and beyond seek its expertise and buy its products. It has succeeded to upgrade its cooperation with important world powers with influence in the region, including Russia and China.
        These new relationships have not lessened Israel's special relationship with the U.S.  Israel remains America's most trusted and closest ally in the region.
        Israel is also benefitting from the gradual disengagement of the U.S. from the Middle East, where Israel has emerged as an attractive partner for regional powers in need of new security arrangements, especially in the Gulf.
        Iran's successes have brought it to the Eastern Mediterranean armed with a conviction that it has established a balance of deterrence with Israel through force of arms and particularly through the arsenal of the Lebanese Shia group Hizbullah.
        Iran has succeeded in establishing a semi-circle around Israel, with Hizbullah in the north, Syria in the east, and the Palestinian group Hamas in the south. This means that in any serious military confrontation with Iran, Israel must take into consideration the possibility of engaging in three different theaters of war at the same time.
        The writer is political counsellor for the Arab World at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). (Al Ahram-Egypt)
  • Chinese Espionage in Israel? - Nir Ben Moshe
    China is not an enemy of Israel. However, Israel is an attractive source of advanced technologies needed in China. Consequently, alongside overt and agreed-upon activity, it cannot be ruled out that government ministries, defense industries, and civilian companies in Israel have been attacked in the service of China's intelligence objectives.
        It is also likely that a substantial focus of interest of Chinese intelligence is the complex system of relations between Israel and its ally, the U.S. The objects of these efforts would include major weapon systems in Israel that are developed in cooperation with the U.S. or components that are integrated in American weapon systems.
        In August, the international cyber company FireEye revealed that dozens of private and governmental bodies in Israel were subject to a cyberattack coordinated by an attack group whose source is likely in China. The purpose of these attacks was technological, business, and industrial espionage.
        The writer is former Director of Security of the Defense Establishment in the Israel Ministry of Defense. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

  • Palestinians

  • Demand for Hebrew Lessons Jumps in Gaza as Israel Increases Work Permits - Nidal Al-Mughrabi
    Dozens of Palestinians in Gaza are hoping to take advantage of an opening up of employment opportunities in Israel, leading to increased demand for Hebrew classes at the Nafha languages center. Israel now offers 10,000 permits allowing Gaza residents to cross the border to work in Israel. Ahmed Al-Faleet, the center's owner, said, "These courses allow anyone who gets a permit to read signs, documents written in Hebrew, and communicate with (soldiers) at Israeli checkpoints. If an employer speaks only Hebrew, it enables the worker to deal with him."
        Before 2000, some 130,000 Gazans worked in Israel. Economists say Palestinians can earn in a day in Israel the equivalent to what they can earn in a week in Gaza. "If the security situation remains stable and calm, the State of Israel would open up more and more [to Gazan workers]," said Israeli liaison officer Col. Moshe Tetro. (Reuters)
  • Palestinian Clans Fill Vacuum Created by PA in Hebron - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Palestinian Authority security forces are not doing enough to restore law and order in Hebron in the West Bank, according to Hatem Shaheen, a Fatah official in the city. In the past few weeks, gunmen belonging to the Ja'bari and Uwaiwi clans have clashed in different parts of the city. Dozens of businesses and vehicles were torched and at least four Hebron residents were wounded by gunfire. A number of truces between the clans collapsed and attempts by leaders of other large clans in Hebron to end the street fighting have failed.
        Some residents of Hebron said many of the gunmen were affiliated with Fatah or serve in various branches of the Palestinian security forces. PA security forces have not confiscated the weapons that are in the possession of the clans, residents said. Shaheen said many people are "thinking of moving out of Hebron because they don't feel safe." "As a lawyer, I don't want to live in a country that is governed by clans or the rules of clans. Like any other person, I want to live in a country ruled by law and order."  (Jerusalem Post)

  • Other Issues

  • Why Israel Refuses to Cooperate with the UN Commission of Inquiry - Amb. Dore Gold
    On Feb. 24, 2022, Amb. Dore Gold, President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, wrote an open letter to the Chair of the UN Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry, Navi Pillay, in support of Israel's refusal to cooperate with the Commission, after previous UN Human Rights Council investigations displayed a clear bias and hostile predisposition towards Israel.
        Gold wrote: The UN Human Rights Council should have been an ally of Israel. As a state, we emerged in the aftermath of the Holocaust, the worst war crime in human history. It comes as no surprise that many of the founders of the human rights movement came from Jewish origins. Sullying the Jewish people as a whole flies in the face of what we have represented since the Second World War and feeds into the regeneration of the anti-Semitism that we are witnessing in recent decades.
        We cannot cooperate with a UN initiative that is so deeply flawed in an area which we hold so closely to our own self-definition. It is for this reason that both the Jewish state and the Jewish NGOs will not stand for the process you have undertaken. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Assad Is Reshaping Syria to Entrench His Rule - Amos Harel
    According to Israeli intelligence assessments, about a third of the Syrians now under the control of the regime are Alawite - more than twice their proportion before the outbreak of the war. And close to 10% are Shi'ite Muslims, compared to 3% prior to the war. Millions of Sunni Muslims who fled during the war, mainly to Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Europe, will mostly not be allowed to return.
        At the same time, Sunnis who don't see a future in the new Syria are leaving now too. In the past year, between 8,000 and 10,000 young Sunnis left the Dara'a area, the cradle of the revolt against the Assad regime in 2011. Most emigrated to Europe. In addition, Shi'ites have recently taken over at least two Syrian Golan villages not far from the border with Israel.
        At the same time, Hizbullah has established an array of observation points and intelligence-gathering bases in the vicinity of the border with Israel, with assistance from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and area residents. (Ha'aretz)
  • Area C of the "West Bank," EU Hypocrisy, and Double Standards - Amb. Alan Baker
    Deliberately encouraging the Palestinians to defy Israel's authority in Area C of the West Bank violates the EU's status as a witness to the Oslo Accords. The EU is acting with unclean hands and must determine whether it is in a position to continue to be a stakeholder in the Middle East peace negotiations or whether it has become a partisan element undermining the negotiation process. Rather than encourage the Palestinians to violate the Accords, the EU might prefer to encourage them to return to the negotiating table.
        The writer, former legal counsel to Israel's Foreign Ministry who participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians, heads the international law program at the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Why Does Ireland Hate Israel? - Mark Regev
    Of all EU member states, Ireland is probably the most critical/hostile toward Israel. In the 1940s, Yitzhak Shamir, who later became Israel's prime minister, was a leader of the underground Lehi (the Stern Group). Inspired by the Irish armed insurrection against the British, Shamir famously chose the name Michael as his nom de guerre after the IRA's Michael Collins.
        Yet today, Ireland's pugnacious anti-Israel boycott movement actively harasses any institution that hosts Israeli cultural figures. Israel's artists, actors, musicians and dancers are simply not welcome in Ireland; the citizens of no other country facing such systematic open-ended discrimination.
        In Ireland, the Israelis are seen to play the part of the nefarious occupying British, while the Palestinians have the role of the virtuous Irish fighting for their independence. All evidence contradicting this simplistic narrative is deemed superfluous.
        The writer, formerly an adviser to the prime minister, is a senior visiting fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies. (Jerusalem Post)

  • Anti-Semitism

  • We Need to Really Go After Anti-Semites - Malcolm Hoenlein interviewed by Alex Traiman
    Malcolm Hoenlein, who served as executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations for 33 years, told JNS: "The anti-Semitism issue is much larger than people believe or want to believe. The number of incidents is skyrocketing.... Jews need the rule of law. We need law and order to function and be secure as a community. When those things break down, we become victims."
        "We also have to demand that law enforcement and everybody else really go after anti-Semites. When there's revolving-door justice, that a guy can commit three anti-Semitic attacks on synagogues in one morning and that afternoon is out and ready in another community, committing an attack, getting arrested again; this issue needs to be treated with the seriousness it requires....And we have to see that there are prosecutions.... Anti-Semitism is always beneath the surface; you're never going to eradicate it. But what you can do is force it back so that it doesn't become acceptable."  (JNS)

  • Weekend Feature

  • How Israel's Covid Diplomacy Is Helping the World - Amb. Daniel Meron
    Israel is on the front lines of responding to the coronavirus pandemic across the globe. Israel's unique ability to deal with emergency situations, improvise, and respond quickly and flexibly have all factored into its success. There is a core Jewish value that teaches us that we must help those in need during difficult times. It is therefore natural that Israel has gone to great lengths to support its friends in the international community.
        Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been at the forefront of efforts to donate masks, respirators, and other essential medical equipment to countless countries. When India was ravaged by a severe wave of coronavirus in April 2021, Israel sent entire planeloads filled with respirators and medical aid. When Romania was grappling with a crisis in November, we sent a team of five top medical experts to share Israel's experience in its hospitals. In Ghana, the Israeli embassy distributed masks to local medical teams. Israel has also committed to donate over a million vaccine doses to African nations.
        Hundreds of kilograms of PPE gear, syringes, medications, and more has been sent to medical staff in 52 countries, including Kenya, Peru, and Bulgaria. The ministry's agency for international cooperation - Mashav - has also brought medical staff and administrators from Tanzania, Rwanda, Guatemala, and many others to Israel for world-class learning. IsraAID, a leading NGO, just finished a six-month project in Eswatini, where an Israeli team set up an operations center for distributing vaccines and training medical staff.
        The writer is Covid-19 Project Manager at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Jewish Chronicle-UK)

  • The founders of Israel made the strategic choice to build and maintain a defense force capable of dealing independently with even the most dangerous threats. The Ukrainians are learning today what the Czechs learned in 1938, and what the Jews vowed never to forget: Western democracies cannot be relied upon in the face of a threat from an authoritarian regime willing to turn to military measures to enforce its will. A country that cannot defend itself will be left to its own devices at a time it needs support the most.
  • Israel's War of Independence victory was achieved only thanks to the mobilization of full human potential and the massive arms smuggling that took place despite the U.S. embargo. Amid the pan-Arab threat, shaped under Egyptian President Nasser's leadership, Israel was left to its fate for almost 20 years.
  • In the 1950s, Israel faced a critical threat when the USSR supplied Egypt (and later other Arab countries) with massive quantities of frontline weapons, while Washington refused to supply Jerusalem with defensive weapons. France, which had helped Israel deal with these dangers, betrayed Jerusalem after the Six-Day War and supported its enemies.
  • When Arab countries declared war on Israel again in 1973, the rest of Europe turned its back on Jerusalem by refusing to allow American planes that carried supplies for the IDF to refuel in its territories. Europe continues to support efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state in international organizations, and generously funds groups that undermine it.
  • Israel became a success story not only because of its freedom and innovation, but also because it chose to base its national security on self-defense. Its survival, progress, and prosperity were made possible by its strong military and determination to defend itself on its own.
  • Israel receives assistance due to its determination to survive without it. It prevents war through deterrence, for it has learned that what triggers the aggression of authoritarian regimes is democracies' hesitance to use their power even if the avenues of diplomacy and economic means have been exhausted.

    The writer is head of the International Graduate Program in National Security at the University of Haifa.
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